Mamadi Diakité, Jordan Nwora and Abdel Nader, 3 Africans in the NBA final

In 2019, the success of Toronto had consecrated several sons of the African continent. The Canadian franchise whose general manager is none other than the Nigerian Masai Ujiri had indeed, in its workforce the Cameroonian Pascal Siakam, the Nigerian OG Anunoby and the Congolese Serge Ibaka. All three were also very important in the coronation of the Raptors. But one after, there was no African basketball player at the Lakers, champion 2020. This will not be the case this year since the two finalists each have an African. In Milwaukee, there are even two: pivot Mamadi Diakité and winger Jordan Nwora.

Mamadi Diakité, 2021 G-League champion

Born in Conakry in 1997, Mamadi Diakité made his academic career in the United States. After 4 years with the Virginia Cavaliers, he ran for the 2020 draft but was not chosen. Beating, however, he does not give up his dream of joining the NBA. The Guinean pivot then agrees to commit to Lakeland Magic, a G-League formation, a sort of reserve for NBA franchises. A choice that pays off because the player has a series of good performances (18.5 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks on average) and his team dates champion. Milwaukee, seduced by his impact, offers him the chance to realize his dream by signing a contract in April. Since then, the 24-year-old has played in 14 Regular Season games and 7 in the play-offs for 3 points, 1 rebound in 5 minutes on average. Guinea hopes to have it at Afrobasket 2021.

Jordan Nwora, the new Nigerian star

Unlike Mamadi Diakité, Jordan Nwora was drafted in 2020 at the 45e position. He therefore reached the NBA finals of the first season. His rookie year is promising. The 22-year-old winger has appeared in 30 Regular Season games averaging 9 minutes for 5 points and 2 rebounds. Born in New York, Jordan Nwora has been defending the colors of Nigeria, the country of his parents, since 2018. He also participated in the 2019 World Cup under the orders of his father Alexandre Nwora, D-Tiger coach at the time.

The Bucks player completed this World Cup with very good averages: 21.7 points, 8 rebounds and 2.7 assists. At 22, he is the player who has scored the most points in a game with the selection of Nigeria (36 points). Selected for the Olympics, he will certainly be one of Mike Brown’s major assets in Tokyo. Before that, he could land his first ring in his first season.

Abdel Nader, a Pharaoh in Phoenix

Since the departure of Tunisian Salah Mejri from the Mavericks in 2019, Abdel Nader is the only representative of North Africa in the NBA. The 26-year-old winger, born in Cairo but raised in Chicago, is trying hard to make a name for himself in this selective league. Drafted in 58e posted by Boston in 2016 and then sent to Oklahoma City, Abdel Nader happened to the Suns during Chris Paul’s transfer. He was indeed part of this business that changed the face of Phoenix. Played in 24 regular season games with this franchise for 6 points and 2 rebounds. In a few days, he could be the first Egyptian, NBA champion. But like Mamadi Diakité and Jordan Nwora, he may have very limited playing time during the series.

Demba VARORE

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